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May 13th 2008
Published: May 13th 2008
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Hello Everyone,

We made it to Rome! Not overnight, of course, considering that it took us 22 hours just to get to Venice. We left Romania on Friday, May 9, Bethany’s birthday. We had birthday cake with Peter, Hailey and the team, and then had a cake at Vasili and Ana’s place, a wonderfully hospital couple. They live in a typical Romanian apartment building; very interesting! Not exactly what we are accustomed to.

We left Peter and the team at the Sibiu Airport. It was then that we had to drastically alter our travel plans; we had planned to drop south into Croatia and Slovenia and then into Italy, but we did not have insurance on the motorhome in Croatia so couldn’t go that way. Peter said that the border people will turn you away if you don’t have insurance. So we had to head back up to Budapest and then via Vienna down to Graz and onto Venice. A bit of a lengthy trip and disappointing as we’d planned to spend the Sunday on the Croatian coast. So we pushed it hard into into Hungary, which took till 11 at night (seven hours). We bought several days worth of groceries in Romania as we wanted to do lots of traveling without having to stop for food in a different city. In the parking lot there we had an interesting experience: this highly pregnant Gypsy lady came up to us begging and whipped her clothes down to show us this incredible growth on the side of her belly, about half a foot long or so. We could make out that she wanted money for an operation, but Peter said that giving money to people is not a good way to help as it doesn’t necessarily get used for what they tell you. We did give her one Lei, though, to get rid of her but it actually encouraged her even more. She followed us to the camper and tried to pull her clothes down again. A rather disconcerting sight.

The next day, Saturday, we left at 6:30 at night and drove to Venice. We made it there at nine at night and met up with Cory, Martha, Stefan Koppert, and Larissa, Martha’s sister who had flown into Munich from Romania. We spent the Sunday and Monday till 2:00 pm in the greater Venice area on the Agean
Clock Tower in Graz, AustriaClock Tower in Graz, AustriaClock Tower in Graz, Austria

We climbed the clock tower in Graz, Austria. It's a beautiful city, immaculately maintained. We were way above the city.
Sea. Today we headed up (literally: it’s built on a massive rock) into this incredibly ancient Tuscan village called “Orvieto”. The cathedral was built over three-hundred years, started in the twelve-hundreds. Ed decided to take the motor-home into the town, which didn’t work so well!!! Cory followed us in and said the police was shaking his head as we came by! The mirrors were about 8 inches away from the houses on both sides!!! The police stopped us and told us NOT to turn off anywhere! He said we were on the wide road in the town! Then we hit a 16% grade so we really hoped we were on the right road and didn’t have to back up that motor-home! Anyway, my heart was in my throat but in retrospect we had fun. Today we parked at the bottom and took the gondola train up to the top! It’s been interesting!

Tonight we made it to a campground in Rome; tomorrow we hope to head into the city. It rained today, but we trust that tomorrow will be better.

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